Minister for Social Protection and Rural & Community Development, Minister Heather Humphreys will underline the Government’s commitment to sustainable regional development when on February 7 she addresses a special three-day ‘Regions in Focus 2023’ event.
The Association of Irish Regions (AIR) event will see a host of leading academics and industry experts gather for workshops, seminars and specialised training from February 7-9, 2023 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Coolshannagh, Co. Monaghan.
The event brings together leading figures from industry, academia, and policymaking, as well as representatives from all Regional Assemblies, to hear their perspectives on the role of regions in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Ireland, including climate action, balanced spatial and economic development and connecting the regions.
Minister Humphreys will speak to attendees about the growing importance of regional development, while journalist and climate activist John Gibbons will deliver a keynote speech on the role regions can play in safeguarding the environment, boosting biodiversity, and helping Ireland achieve its emissions targets.
OECD Policy Analyst Michael Flood will also address the event. Mr Flood is one of a larger contingent from the OECD who will be on hand to launch a report on rethinking Ireland’s regional attractiveness.
Other speakers include Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer with the National Transport Authority, Professor Niamh Moore-Cherry, Professor of Urban Governance and Development at University College Dublin, Niall Cussen, Chief Executive and Planning Regulator at the Office of the Planning Regulator, and Helen Healy, Head of Regional Policy at Ibec, along with many more.
There will be a seminar on emerging EU policy and funding opportunities, sessions to test ideas, and panel discussions with presentations from representatives of a range of EU Funding programmes.
Newstalk radio presenter Jonathan Healy will serve as host for the event, which is sponsored by IPB Insurance and supported by the Northern and Western, the Eastern and Midland and the Southern Regional Assemblies.
A full schedule of speakers and training events is available on the event’s website www.irishregions.ie.
Cllr Robert Power, Cathaoirleach of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly said: “Regional cooperation is a key factor for strong regions and communities. The AIR Regions in Focus 2023 event provides a valuable forum for local and regional government leaders to discuss and explore opportunities alongside industry experts, academia, and national department representatives in the context of creating prosperous regions. Focusing on our common aims, it will offer a unique space to showcase regions and how regions can come together to create strong, sustainable and resilient regions and communities.”
Jim Conway, Director of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, said: “Since their establishment in 2015, the Regional Assemblies have demonstrated their value and continue to do so. Working closely with stakeholders and partners from across the region, Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly has not only carried out its statutory functions across spatial planning, economic development and European affairs as well as enhanced relationships with local authorities, it has contributed to the success of Climate Action, Regional Enterprise, and shaping a fair shift to a carbon-neutral economy.
“We now look forward to playing a pivotal role in addressing the impacts on those affected by the move from fossil fuels as Managing Authority for the EU Just Transition Fund in Ireland. The Association of Irish Regions brings together the strengths and experiences of all the regions in Ireland our event in Monaghan demonstrates the broad range of stakeholders with whom we work and collaborate with closely.
“We are delighted to be joined by a great list of speakers who will provide both high-level and technical insights to support our regions in becoming sustainable, innovative and great places to live work and visit.”